Tuesday, May 20, 2014 5:49 pm
Isa Kogo, popularly known as Justice for his role as the man in charge and chief disciplinarian of the new Kaduna Foruth Bridge Quarry site, speaks with FEMI ADI on the hardship workers at the site face for a mere pittance
What informed your decision to go into the quarry business?
As a young man, my father told me that I should avoid anything that can send me into stealing and other social vices. So, at the age of 15, I started visiting the Malali Quarry site to watch how stones are heated and broken for money. After a year of study on how the business is done, I begged the manager of the quarry and he engaged me, but first, I started as a loader. And after two years of learning the business, I became fully engaged. I started earning good money from the stones I break on daily business. Though it has been a difficult job and not much money there, I choose the profession because I get my daily bread from it.
After you discovered that breaking stone is a hard business and what you get is peanuts, why didn’t find an alternative?
Honestly, it is because we must survive. There are good jobs to do and since breaking stones is the business I understand, I decided to remain in it. I want to tell you that all of us doing this business are responsible people. You can’t find us involved in violence or causing trouble in the society. We have experienced several sectarian and political crises in the state but none of our members have participated. We also don’t get involved in politics. The government is aware of this and that is why nobody comes here to disturb us.
How long have been into this business?
I started in 1984 as a loader before I graduated into breaking activity. If you add up the first three years to my experience at the quarry from, it is over thirty years.
What time do you resume and close daily?
The job requires commitment and time, so we agreed to resume at 6am and close 7pm on daily basis. We usually don’t go on holidays because of the pressure to meet up with demand.
What have you made as the leader of this quarry site?
I thank God. It is with breaking stones that I married my three wives. I have also used it to train my 12 children and buy a motorcycle that is used for commercial activity within the metropolis. I have always used the little I get on a daily basis
Could tell us how much you make daily?
The amount varies. On any quarry site there are seniors, juniors and apprentices. It is on the basis of seniority that money is shared. For example, I am one of the leaders here, so I earn between N500 and N1,000 daily. But that is when we have stones to sell. The labourers earn far less than that.
What are criteria for payment?
It depends of the number of tippers of stone that are sold.
If you have the opportunity to quit will you do so?
Why not? I will quit if there is guarantee that I can earn better money. We are all fed up with working and suffering with nothing to show that we have invested our strength and time in this business.